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Moscow challenges US to prove that Pentagon biomarker research does not violate law

November 09, 13:23 UTC+3

Moscow is concerned over reports about Pentagon’s studies of genetic material collected from Russian citizens on Russia’s territory

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, November 9. /TASS/. The US Department of Defense must present proof that its biomaterials research does not violate international law, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing on Thursday.

"The official clarification provided by the Pentagon sounds unconvincing," the Russian diplomat said.

"We believe that the US Ministry of Defense must present convincing proof that the US Air Force’s biomaterials research under this contract does not violate international law."

Moscow is concerned over reports about Pentagon’s studies of genetic material collected from Russian citizens on Russia’s territory, Zakharova stressed.

"We are highly concerned over the fact that the US Department of Defense is conducting studies of genetic material collected from Russian citizens on Russia’s territory," she said.

"We believe that the US Department of Defense should present strong proof that these studies do not violate international law," Zakharova added.

In her view, "transparency is necessary, since as far as the genetic field goes, the Pentagons’ reputation is already damaged."

"There are numerous examples," Zakharova noted. "It would be enough to mention the shipping of live anthrax bacteria by a Defense Department laboratory," she pointed out.

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier told a meeting of the Council for Human Rights that foreigners were collecting genetic material from Russians of various ethnic groups, who reside in various parts of the country. According to Putin, such activity is being conducted "purposefully and professionally."

The US later confirmed the collection of genetic material from Russians, with the Pentagon saying that samples were collected for research on the musculoskeletal system.

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